CBS-owned WBBM-TV is undergoing yet another change with its 10 p.m. weeknight newscast by pairing current anchor Rob Johnson with Kate Sullivan, a morning anchor at sister station WCBS-TV in New York City, also a CBS O&O. The report first surfaced Wednesday on Robert Feder’s blog at Vocalo.
The change is expected to take place in September. Johnson had been anchoring the newscast solo since the departure of Anne State fifteen months ago (she remained with the station as a general assignment reporter, but WBBM did not renew her contract earlier this year.)
Ms. Sullivan is a Notre Dame graduate and landed her first gig at nearby WSBT-TV, a CBS affiliate in South Bend. From there, she went on to NBC affiliate WJAR-TV in Providence and ABC affiliate KATV in Little Rock before landing at WCBS in April 2006. She most recently co-anchored the morning show with Maurice DuBois, an alum of Fox-owned WFLD-TV.
Once a perennial also-ran in New York’s competitive news race, WCBS now routinely finishes second in most time periods, thanks to stronger syndicated programming (Judge Judy and Dr. Phil), but also due to a series of disasterous on-air personnel and programming changes at NBC-owned WNBC-TV, whose newscasts now generally rank behind WCBS and market leader WABC-TV, owned by The Walt Disney Co.
By comparison, WBBM has been either in third, fourth, or even fifth place at 10 p.m. for most of the last twenty years, with the notable exception being last November’s sweeps, when The Jay Leno Show helped pull down NBC-owned WMAQ-TV’s ratings at 10 p.m. Today’s change marks the eleventh anchor change at WBBM-TV’s 10 p.m. newscast in the last decade.
WBBM has also trailed in other news time periods, including early mornings where Monsters and Money In The Morning (with Mike North and Dan Jiggetts) currently resides.